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The Forum > General Discussion > Major city traffic congestion.

Major city traffic congestion.

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City traffic congestion seems to be a growing problem -
especially in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne.
We lived in Los Angeles where a cohesion of cities
were linked by freeways. The city centre was just another
area that could be avoided.

My husband while working for the Melbourne
Public Works Department a few decades ago -
recalls coming across a Master Plan done in
the 1940s for the decentralisation of Melbourne.

The
Master Plan back then apparently proposed the future
growth beyond the outskirts of the outer suburbs drawing
traffic from the centre to the outer rim, instead of
drawing traffic from the outer rim to the centre. He thought
it was a great Master Plan - worked on by experts.
However, it was ignored.

In the meantime -
We've watched the growth of the city of Melbourne with no
regard for the future. Some attempts were made to establish
new city centres, but decade after decade more and more
has been squeezed into the city centre - only adding to the
growing congestion. This problem also exists in Sydney. And I
imagine also in other capital cities.

My question is - why are planners who design cities being ignored
by politicians? Why did no one take any notice of the
original Master Plan for Melbourne that was worked on by
the Melbourne Public Works Department of the time?

Is it political? Do politicians have alternate agendas?
Why are we all so focused on over developing our city centres-
when we can surely see the obvious problems that this causes?

Your thoughts please?
Posted by Foxy, Tuesday, 13 February 2018 1:07:04 PM
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Traffic congestion is a problem in all Australian cities because immigrants flock to the cities. There are too many damn people in Australia, thanks to the anti-Australian, mass immigration policies of Liberal and Labor. Note the word 'Liberal'. I'm not using 'Coalition' any longer because there has been a denegration into Left liberalism since Turnbull took over. The could-be Conservatives - the Nationals are weak and lead by a 'moral degenerate'; the few conservatives remaining among the liberals are cowards. In my book the government is a small 'l' outfit (as in the U.S where liberal means left wing or socialist). The Turnbull government, then, is socialist, globalist, multiculturalist, high immigrationist, traffic-congesting bunch of traitors.
Posted by ttbn, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 8:28:59 AM
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Dear ttbn,

What I'm trying to discuss here is not politics as such
but the over-development of major city centres and the
problems caused. Better planning is what's needed. Instead
of uncontrolled builds up of city centres shouldn't we be
focusing more on developing outer centres?

For example, in Melbourne in the 1970s and 1980s there were
attempts made to limit the growth of the city centres by
putting restrictions on height of buildings, types of
businesses and multi-storey residential developments.

Nowdays, it appears that "anything goes." Apparently in an
attempt to generate more revenue for the city.
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 9:30:01 AM
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It's all about politics, Foxy, including the lack of planning you rightly bring attention to. There has also been a total lack of planning in immigration, which has impacted on the lack of town planning. The Australian dog is not even chasing its tail any more.
Posted by ttbn, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 12:26:09 PM
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Dear Foxy,
It's not overdevelopment that's the problem; it's failure to provide the appropriate level of transport infrastructure to service the population. A growing population is a great opportunity, as it makes previously unviable infrastructure viable. But governments prefer to meet short term budgetary objectives rather than to make the necessary long term investments in our future. And IIRC you're one of the people who's to blame for that. But I haven't got time to go into that now - I may do so next week if I'm less busy.

It's not just a funding problem, though - there's a lack of overall vision, which means the wrong projects tend to get selected.

But decentralisation is not the answer. Drawing traffic away from the CBD and to the outer rim results in a lot more congestion on the outer rim - and as the outer suburbs expand it gets more congested still. But such development is difficult to serve by rail, so this sort of development tends to increase car dependence and pollution.
Posted by Aidan, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 1:19:26 PM
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Dear Aidan,

Just hypothetically - if one goes to the Supermarket
and puts all their groceries into one paper bag the
paperbag sooner or later will burst from the weight.
We see that frequently. However if you distribute
your groceries into a number of paper bags not only
will your groceries not fall onto the floor with the
bags bursting but you'll end up with spare paper bags
that can be re-used for next time.

Does this analogy make any sense?
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 3:03:33 PM
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cont'd ...

Dear Aidan,

City centres were initially provided with services,
sewerage, water, electricity, et cetera, to cater for
businesses that operated on average - 40 hours a week.
With the addition now of multiple apartment buildings
and doubling up of office space the services have to
cater 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To upgrade
services that are underground - to cope with this increase
not only disrupts the operation of the city but by its
very nature is phenominally expensive. New developments
on the outer rim can cater for future growth at less cost.
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 3:14:01 PM
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Here's a link that suggests some solutions to the
problem:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-03/congestion-sydney-melbourne-smarter-approach-needed-than-roads/9010164
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 3:27:41 PM
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Aiden your lack of arithmetic is showing I'm afraid.

A ring road around a city 5 kilometres out is 31Ks long, a moderate number of cars can be accommodated on it, & in inner areas of it.

One 15Ks out is 94Ks long, a much higher number of cars can be accommodated on it & inner areas of it.

Just move out to 20Ks from the centre & a ring road is 125Ks long, & the adjacent area can accommodate an infinitely greater number of cars than the entire inner city area.

Decentralisation obviously works to reduce local traffic.
Posted by Hasbeen, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 3:50:32 PM
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Dear Hassie,

Finally - someone who understands reality.

Thank You.
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 5:15:28 PM
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Hasbeen,
This is not about arithmetic, it's about assumptions. If you put garbage in, you get garbage out no matter how much number crunching you do!

You are relying on the incorrect assumption that everyone is travelling by car. WhereasI'm saying that giving people an attractive alternative to using cars is usually a much better way to tackle congestion. And because you have failed to understand that, you have wrongly assumed there to be an error with my arithmetic!

A bigger area also means the cars travel further - something your calculations have failed to account for.

And BTW if you really think the number of cars you can accommodate 20km out is INFINITELY greater than the entire inner city area, there's a serious problem with your arithmetic as well as your assumptions.

________________________________________________________________________________

Foxy,
I understand the paper bag analogy, but I don't consider it to be a good one. Firstly the transport infrastructure is not like paper. String bags would be a better analogy, but even that's deeply flawed because of the unevenness of the transport network. Secondly, decentralisation is not like putting your shopping into separate bags, because people often have long commutes from one outer suburb to another. Planners may have failed to anticipate that in the 1940s when, apart from cars being far less common, single income families were the norm.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying there shouldn't be any decentralisation. But don't expect it to solve the congestion problem..
Posted by Aidan, Thursday, 15 February 2018 1:23:37 AM
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I assume Aidan you are talking about public transport. Now that is a catastrophe.

It costs more fuel so more emissions per passenger kilometre on public transport than private transport.

It costs much more to transport people by public transport than private transport. So to get people to use it requires considerable subsidy.

In this day & age, when all western governments find it impossible to run at anything but a massive deficit, why do you think adding even more totally unnecessary cost to those deficits is a good idea?
Posted by Hasbeen, Thursday, 15 February 2018 8:21:15 PM
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Dear Aidan,

What I'm trying to point out is - it's about planning
long term.

City planners around the world plan cities for the future.
Big business and local authorities ignore these plans
for their own interests - and thus we get the chaos that
we have. It seems that what is lacking is vision.
Posted by Foxy, Friday, 16 February 2018 9:21:39 AM
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Recently in Melbourne the NE Freeway link was put
up for a community survey with a selection of four
options. Based on the survey results, the option chosen
(admittedly the cheapest) was not the most practical
as an immediate solution, and definitely out of date -
long term.
Posted by Foxy, Friday, 16 February 2018 9:24:38 AM
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In our authorities defence, it is very difficult for them to provide comparative infrastructure to the likes of New York, when we have such a tiny population in comparison. Take Bribie Island for instance, near where I live. The traffic often comes to a stand sill and is now effecting local 'off the island' businesses as many islanders simply wont leave the island for fear of getting stuck in traffic upon their return, while some who used to travel for goods simply avoid the road now. One solution is a toll to fund a new bridge, with exemptions or very low fees for residents, however many tourists would simply go elsewhere so it would most likely be pointless. Of cause in the case of our cities, public transport is quite often unreliable, too much hassle or just too expensive. Sadly, I think congestion is the new norm and is here to stay.
Posted by rehctub, Friday, 16 February 2018 1:36:39 PM
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It is just so easy.

Just move all bureaucrats out to the outer areas. Make it between 25 & 30 Kilometres from the city centre. Perhaps leave a couple of tea ladies to service the useless politicians, & perhaps a McDonald's franchise, although that is probably too good for them.

The high end inner city retailers, who service the overpaid bureaucrats will have to follow their cash cow. No one left but the greenies & far left twits living in the inner city high rise. Of course many of them are bureaucrats, so they too will have to move to bicycle range of their new offices.

All those current wasteful office blocks can be converted to low cost apartment housing, & no one other than the politicians will be driving into the city again.

There what was so hard about that? It should even please the greenies, as it would be one in the eye for the developers who built all those high rise office towers.

Inner city business centres worked when cities were less than 400,000 or so population. They are way past their use by date once cities approach a million, & ridiculous when populations reach multi millions.
Posted by Hasbeen, Friday, 16 February 2018 2:46:30 PM
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Hasbeen,
Yes I'm talking about public transport. The amount of fuel it uses per passenger km varies widely according to the number of passengers and the type of vehicle used, but it tends to be significantly more fuel efficient than cars. It is also much more space efficient, reducing the amount of congestion on the roads.

Governments have found that subsidising public transport reduces the need for more roads (which would be more expensive), improves social equity and increases the value of land (at least some of which gets returned to the government as land tax).

In this stage of the economic cycle, with interest rates at record lows, running a deficit is desirable. Governments should be investing in meeting our future needs, not ignoring them to focus on short term budgetary considerations.

As well as causing chaos on the roads, moving all the bureaucrats would make it more difficult for them to work effectively, as it would make it harder to cooperate with each other, the politicians, businesses and the public. You seem to have failed to understand that the CBD's main advantage is that it's easily accessible from everywhere.
Posted by Aidan, Saturday, 17 February 2018 2:14:37 AM
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Foxy,
Long term planning is certainly needed, but the main thing lacking at present is communication. The government should be crowdsourcing alternatives and improvements to every plan, but instead the politicians want their pet projects to escape scrutiny!

However I'm quite puzzled by your comments on Melbourne's NE Freeway link. ISTM the solution they've chosen is the best one by far - not only is it cheapest, but it's the one with the highest demand (so more toll revenue). And if it eventually needs augmenting with another new road further east, maybe some of the toll revenue could pay for that?

I'm surprised they want the southern portal so far south, but overall I think they've done quite well.
Posted by Aidan, Saturday, 17 February 2018 2:50:18 AM
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Dear Aidan,

What you're saying is logical but they'll end up paying
for two freeways instead of just one.

And the growing expansion in the North East would be
best served by the more Eastern connection.
Posted by Foxy, Saturday, 17 February 2018 8:46:58 AM
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Come on Aiden, nothing on earth could make Bureaucrats work less efficiently, that is the only skill they have perfected. Besides scattering them out all over the place might just mean they would have less time wasting meetings, & communicate electronically. Hell we might even manage a slight reduction in their numbers with a move, about 50% would be a good starting point.

There is no example, anywhere in the world, not even India, where public transport is fuel or cost effective, other than in some GIGO greenie computer model, & we all know how useful they are.

If the ratbag greens, & rabid lefties get their way, we will be reduced to push bikes in the near future. Lefty councils are reducing the number of parking spaces required for close to city apartment blocks, with not even one car space per unit. They do have special parking for bikes however. I actually predicted this push by the number of useless bikeways being added to every bit of road construction, even out here in the sticks, where bikes are rarely seen.

The 1984 world is going to be forced on us, if we don't start kicking very hard.
Posted by Hasbeen, Saturday, 17 February 2018 12:15:43 PM
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Way back Sydney had long-term planning and an area known as the Green Belt that was supposed to limit expansion but the pollies saw money to be made by their mates and, quietly also by themselves, and the Green Belt was gradually cut up for housing development.

Even further back there was a bloke called Bradfield who planned for the future but his plans were shelved after his Sydney Harbour Bridge was built, arguably the bridge did more than anything else to bring traffic congestion to inner Sydney.

A good example of planning is the fact that there used to be tram tracks in George St, George St businesses were inconvenienced while the tracks were removed, now they are being even more inconvenienced as the tram tracks are being replaced.

The new tracks are the same rail form and the same gauge so the old ones were just fine; a lot of time and money could have been saved by leaving the old ones under the tar.
Posted by Is Mise, Saturday, 17 February 2018 4:16:23 PM
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Hasbeen,
Forced decentralisation would almost certainly have the exact opposite effect on the bureaucrats - they'd waste more time travelling to meetings, but there'd probably still be a decrease in interdepartmental communication. And reducing the public service workforce is likely to be a huge false economy - you'll end up having to spend much more on consultants who ultimately won't do the job as well.

"There is no example, anywhere in the world, not even India, where public transport is fuel or cost effective,"
Struth, I knew you were ignorant about public transport, but I didn't know you were THAT ignorant about it! In urban areas at least, it's the norm for public transport to be more fuel efficient than cars. Cost effectiveness is a different matter, as there is the significant cost of employing the drivers, plus fares tend to be kept below the market rate because they recognise the benefits of attracting more people onto public transport. Yet around the world there are plenty of profitable bus routes, and some profitable passenger train services. A special mention must go to Hong Kong's MTR, which did not set out to become profitable, but instead aimed for technical excellence and ended up surprising everyone (including themselves) by becoming profitable.

"Lefty councils are reducing the number of parking spaces required for close to city apartment blocks, with not even one car space per unit. "
The fact that there is any mandatory requirement for parking spaces is itself a subsidy for cars! Indeed even if the requirement's optional, the commercial need for it is an extra cost to business that good public transport can greatly reduce.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Foxy,
Yes they'll end up with the costs of two freeways (or more likely, tollways) instead of one - but also the benefits. of having two.
Posted by Aidan, Saturday, 17 February 2018 4:32:42 PM
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Is Mise I was silly enough to spend a couple of days in Melbourne a couple of years back. I was reminded of what a catastrophe trams were in Sydney. Yep, they were fine for riding up & down George St, but you needed to take a cut lunch for a trip to Balmain, it took so long, stuck behind those confounded things.

Hell if you had to go right out to Ryde, you needed supplies for a couple of days. Parramatta road was hell on wheels when it had the damn things.

I couldn't believe it when the Gold Coast started wasting billions on mobile chicanes. I have found the place best avoided since the early 70s, but long time residents are telling me it is much worse since the tram started, & are looking to get out ASAP.

Yea Aiden, trains are so profitable that they turn them off at midnight to reduce costs. They leave thousands of drunks in the city, because they can't afford to get them back home.

I loved the train from Cronulla to my office in Sydney. Great things if they fit your usage, & you get a seat each way. Didn't much like subsidising them at considerable cost, when my trip was from Newport to Fairfield. If they want to run them, it must be at the least at full cost recovery.
Posted by Hasbeen, Saturday, 17 February 2018 5:55:28 PM
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Meanwhile, up in India they intend building 9,485 km freight-only rail corridors.

The first two corridors, some 3,000+ km are well underway'

Meanwhile, in NSW there are proposals to turn the Great Northern Railway (beyond Armidale) into a bike track.

It is hoped that by doing this the Government will be able to ease the push bike congestion on the New England Highway and surrounding country roads.
Only last week the congestion on the NE H'way reached a new peak when two bikes were seen near Black Mountain and one was observed on the back road from Guyra to Llangothlin.

Those who oppose the conversion of the rail line to a cycleway are selfishly putting the public interest before the desires of a small but dedicated group of bike users.
Those in favour, including Glen Innes council, see it as a fantastic leap forward in tourism potential and a real dollar earner.
Posted by Is Mise, Saturday, 17 February 2018 6:31:38 PM
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Link to the above on Inia rail.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dedicated_Freight_Corridor_Corporation_of_India
Posted by Is Mise, Saturday, 17 February 2018 6:44:23 PM
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In India with cheap labour rail freight probably works.

In Oz the cost of transferring freight from truck to rail, & back to trucks for final delivery is usually greater than the cost of delivering it all the way by truck, unless it is a complete container load.
Posted by Hasbeen, Sunday, 18 February 2018 6:11:55 PM
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When public transport is an ideological goal unto itself, when the idea is to force different people from all walks of life to smell each other's farts (especially of the verbal and mental varieties), then no logical arguments matter.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Sunday, 18 February 2018 7:16:21 PM
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